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2018 MLB Draft: The Braves Connection To Navy For This Week’s College Draft Prospect Tracker

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Navy pitching star, Noah Song, is having an exceptional season. Will Noah’s future be in baseball or the Navy?

Noah Song, RHP for the U.S. Naval Academy
http://www.navysports.com/sports/m-basebl/recaps/033118aaa.html

Back in 2007 the Braves drafted Mitch Harris in the 24th round, but he decided to go back to Navy another year and ended up getting drafted in the 13th round by the Arizona Cardinals. He did make it briefly to the majors and last pitched in 2017.

Then in 2015 the Braves drafted Stephen Moore in the 10th round No. 300 overall. The Braves had made Moore the highest drafted Navy player ever, though only 8 Navy players have ever been drafted. Moore was more control than stuff, throwing around 86-88, but averaged less than 2 walks per 9 in college. He pitched 22 innings at Danville in 2015, and we haven’t heard from him since.

Alex Anthopolous was on duty in Toronto when he drafted Alex Azor from Navy in the 10th round of the 2012 MLB draft. Same draft he also picked up Marcus Stroman and Anthony Alford. Azor also played that year in Rookie league and nothing since.

Mitch Harris & Oliver Drake, also a Navy alum, both debuted in the majors for their teams in 2015. That’s a pretty remarkable feat considering how few Navy players are even drafted. Only Oliver Drake is still pitching (Milwaukee Brewers).

Why do I bring this up? Cause Noah Song will be another Navy player selected in the 2018 MLB draft, and the Braves along with Alex Anthopolous have shown they aren’t afraid to draft a player with ties to the military.

What would it mean for a team drafting Noah Song and assuming he wants to pitch for said team? Here’s what I was able to find from a CNN article:

Top-tier athletes enrolled at US military service academies must, once again, serve out their mandatory two-year active duty stints upon graduation before they can pursue a career in professional sports.

The Department of Defense announced Monday that it had rescinded a policy from 2016 that had allowed some service academy athletes to request to be placed on reserve status, rather than assigned to active duty posts, in order to accept contracts from pro sports teams.

I would imagine with Noah needing to fulfill 2 years of active duty it will hurt his stock, but I’d still love for the Braves to take a chance on this young talented player. Read more about him down below.

Find the spreadsheet here: Talking Chop player draft spreadsheet.

College player stock trending up

Noah Song (Navy) - Song stands 6’4” and 200lbs. He’ll throw his 4-seamer 94-95 (max 98) along with a 2 seamer (mostly to left handers), a slider that sits low 80’s, a slow curve that sits 71 and a change around 80-81. He has 4 complete games and 3 games with 10 or more strikeouts. On the season he’s tied for the 7th most strikeouts in DIV 1 with 75. His opponents are batting .178 against him, which is better than Logan Gilbert. Song’s competition is much more inferior, but he is dominating.

He also pitched in the Cape Cod league last year and finished with a 2.70 ERA (10IN, 12H, 3ER, 9K, 2BB, 1.40WHIP)

Sean Hjelle (Kentucky) - What Hjelle lacks in actual velocity he gains in perceived velocity due to his 6’11 size. Also for a guy his size, Hjelle is averaging over 7 innings per game to go along with a 0.98 WHIP. He’s just so efficient.

Dylan Coleman (Missouri State) - Another tall pitcher (Yes, I love me some tall pitchers!) and a new addition to the spreadsheet. Coleman is 6’6” with a fastball that sits around 93 (90-95, max 96) and he pairs that with a slider and change. The slider projects as above average. He’s currently averaging over 10K/9 and around 4BB/9.

Kyle Isbel (UNLV) - The 5’11” CF is having a fantastic year so far hitting .387 to go along with 9 home-runs and totaling 22 extra base hits. As a CF, I would think he has some speed, but he doesn’t show it on the base paths, being just 4-7 in stolen bases.

Blaine Knight (Arkansas) - While I haven’t been a fan of Knight this season cause he hasn’t had a straight up dominant performance, he’s been very consistent. He’s also beaten Brady Singer, Ryan Rollison and Casey Mize. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is. Still, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but just feels like something is missing with Knight.

Other players to note: Travis Swaggerty, Gage Canning, Grant Witherspoon, David Villar

Also, Nick Sandlin left the game after pitching 1 inning with shoulder tightness. It’s expected to be a non-issue, but we’ll have to see if this is something that pops back up before the end of the season.

College player stock trending down

Bryce Montes de Oca (Missouri) - I’ll add Oca here for now, but I’m just not sure where to put him. For a guy with a fastball that can hit 100mph and a slider with potential, I feel he’s underachieved quite a bit. He’s averaging 10K/9, but there are other guys with less stuff that average better. His walks per 9 are a red flag sitting at over 5BB/9. However, he’s 6’7” and taller pitchers have a history of taking longer for their mechanics to get ironed out. He did have TJS in high school, but has looked good since. If he slides, he might be a good pickup for the right team thinking they can iron out his mechanics to improve his control.

Riley Thompson (Louisville) - He was struggling before missing some games due an undisclosed injury or fatigue/dead arm. His fastball velocity is down too from mid 90’s to low 90’s. Thompson came back and pitched just 1 inning giving up 4 ERs. He still has time to turn things around, but if his velocity is down, I just hope he’s not long for TJS.

Jake McCarthy (Virginia) - Another player that wasn’t hitting all that great before going down with an injury. He’s due back in late April or early May, so we’ll have to re-visit once he’s back.

Greyson Jenista (Wichita State) - Jenista has been very quiet so far this year. Just 7 total extra base hits on the year and none in the past 7 games.

Other players to note: Ryan Johnson, Tristan Beck, Justin Lewis

High School Player Notes

It was dead quiet this week, so I don’t have anything to report here.